Friday, February 27, 2009

Casualties of War: Print vs. Digital institution that we have all known and even studied in history is becoming history right before our eyes. The newspaper industry throughout our nation is crumbling under the weight of the digital revolution. How ironic that while we are thristier than ever for news that the oldest of deliverers is unable to keep up.

I see in my mind the young boys standing on the corners of the busy city streets holding up the paper and shouting, "Extra! Extra!, read all about it!" wearing their little caps, long socks and knickers. What a priceless image of our American history. My husband has worked in the newspaper industry since 2000 and oddly enough in the Online department. It is his very work that is hurting the newspapers and it was his very job that caused newspaper sales to drop so dramatically that his paper had no choice but to lay him off.

I do still find it puzzling though that these very people, who spend their days researching information for stories and being investigators to keep the rest of us in the know, can't figure out how to keep the newspapers profitable! Times have been tough before and our country has been through many changes since the first newspapers were printed; and until now they have always thrived on these changes. I think the love affair they have developed with the ink and paper is part of the problem. They can't touch and smell the fruits of their labor on the internet. They can't see the reactions of people reading their stories as they walk down the street or as they sit in the coffee shops.

A bigger problem is actually the Ad salesmen and businesses who are afraid to advertise on the internet for fear that noone will see their ads. Wake up people! The internet is where everyone is spending their time. They have more time to read stories and click on ads while sitting at their desks at work than they did looking at the paper.

I find it sad to see people's careers and their livlihood going down in flames because noone has the courage to embrace the new technologies that are driving and influencing all aspects of our lives today. We will still get our news stories.....and we will still seek out businesses online.....the newspapers can either pull their heads out of the sand and provide that information to us or we will find it from those who have courageously followed the trends without knowing where it would lead them. To those pioneers of today's News Media.......I congratulate you! You are the newspapers of yesterday..........................and the newspapers of tomorrow!

In a final thought..........Gannett has had some good ideas with their papers and instead of laying off hardworking and loyal employees to meet budgets..........they are encouraging their customers to follow the news on their websites by cutting back on days they run the presses. This saves a tremendous amount of money and allows people to slowly adjust to the changing times while saving jobs at the newspapers at the same time! To the big shots at Gannett.........whoever came up with that idea.............give them a big fat raise and a pat on the back from those who were unfortunate to be working for companies without the same initiative!...............well, that is all I have to say for, until we meet to all.............Donna

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